5 years ago

Meet our experts: Meat & seafood assistant manager Rick Elsenpeter

With a constant eye to quality and an ear to our customers’ needs, Rick Elsenpeter is a shining example of the remarkable team at Lunds Wayzata. Customers are his number one priority, and his regulars will attest to it; in fact, he repeatedly has customers who ask specifically for him to find that perfect cut of meat or a recipe recommendation.

Q: What do you do at Lunds and Byerly’s?

A: I’m the assistant meat and seafood manager at Lunds Wayzata and I’ve worked here for 17 years. I take a lot of pride in our department, especially in the appetizing displays we create. People are drawn to our displays, and it’s important to make everything appealing.

While food is my job, people are my passion. My customers are my number one priority; not only do I assist them and help with selections, but I also take my time talking about preparation and cooking suggestions. Meat and seafood can be intimidating to purchase if you’re not sure what to buy or how to cook it. I make sure everyone stopping by our counter walks away confident in their selection.

My customers trust me and my judgment. I’ve been around this business long enough that they come to me for help and rely on the advice I give them.

Pleasing customers and giving them the best service is what we’re all about here at Lunds and Byerly’s. You can buy a can of soup anywhere, but it’s the quality service we provide that helps set us apart and keeps our customers coming back.

Q: What’s your background?

A: I started as a stock boy at Andy’s Red Owl (small town grocery store) in 1968, working in produce and meat. In a small store like that, you need to know a bit of everything. Working with meat was always my favorite though; the different cuts really intrigued me. I’ve always liked to cook, too, which helps me provide that extra expertise to my customers. (My mom taught her four boys how to cook well.) 

A while back, one of my neighbors working at Lunds said they needed help for the holidays so I decided to step in. It intimidated me to work there because of their great reputation. Boy, was I nervous! After that first holiday season, I was brought back off and on for a while. It wasn’t long before they offered me a position, and I’ve been working there ever since.

Q: What do you like about working in the meat and seafood department?

A: It’s a hands-on job. I love making cuts for customers – it feels like an accomplishment each time I can make a special cut for someone. Creating whatever they need is very enjoyable to me. 

I also really enjoy the customer service – I know everything about my customers and they know everything about me. I have people I’ve known for years who will only buy meat from me. They’ll seek me out or call the store asking for me because of the relationship we’ve built. I love talking with them; my store is like a little family and with Wayzata being a smaller community, you just know so many people so well.

Q: Tell us about your sustainable seafood.

A: If you haven’t tried our sustainable seafood offerings, you’re in for a great meal. Not only is it good for you, it’s good for the environment.  

Lunds and Byerly’s has this great sustainable seafood program and is really committed to it. We’re committed to offering a variety of responsibly sourced wild-caught and farm-raised seafood through partnerships with organizations that ensure fisheries are utilizing sustainable practices that preserve and improve our oceans’ ecosystems.

We also work hard to train our staff on the benefits and how to express that to customers. We know our best resource is our staff because they’re the ones who personally know their customers and can best explain it. 

With all the farm fish that’s being raised and sold, it’s amazing how many people still think you’re not supposed to eat it. I’m always telling people we partner with groups that are raising sustainable seafood – it’s such a good thing because the world is running out of wild fish and we need to preserve our oceans. Explaining the benefits of farm-raised sustainable seafood is an everyday occurrence for us.

My staff here and our staff across the company are passionate about our sustainable seafood program and responsibly sourced seafood. Stop in any of our seafood departments to ask about trying our many varieties of sustainable seafood!